Are we really helping the beggars? Think again.

Are we really helping the beggars? Think again.

By: Maliha Malik

As the signal light turns red, a woman dressed in a shabby outfit holding a baby comes to you asking for money to feed the baby. Living in Pakistan, we have all been through this situation at least once in our lifetime. But have you ever thought what the actual story might be? If not, keep reading.

As donations are considered to be an act for answering prayers people often end up giving money but the dark side of this generous act is that some wish to take advantage and have formed beggar mafias. We tend to think that we do an act of kindness by giving them money but the reality is beyond your imagination and you need to understand giving them that money out of sympathy can be among the most destructive things you can ever do to them.

Have you ever wondered how much do these beggars on the signals earn on a daily basis? Let’s look into it. If the average giver gives 5-10 rupees, and 8-12 people pass by every minute, out of which assuming at least 6 of them get caught in their cunning act and give them money they get 30 to 60 rupees per minute. Let’s say if he/she stands there for 3 hours a day and thus earns approximately 2700 in one hour and 8100 in 3 hours in just one day. So an average beggar would earn more than someone doing a job, doing nothing and just standing with a miserable face and shabby attire and you think they are poor.

Children are the future of the country but shockingly they are involved in begging. The beggars are increasing rapidly as they are found in markets, parks, hospitals, traffic signals and everywhere. This concept of begging in Pakistan is not new but has become very common recently. According to statistics, a significant number of the begging mafia consists of women and children. Poor children are kidnapped, tortured, molested and handicapped in order to be used as medium for making money. And yes, this business is burgeoning. Absurdly, these children are made addicted to lethal dose and most of them are rented on a daily basis which drives the children to forget where they are. In addition to this, they are taught various tactics by over stressing their condition to extreme deficiency. A real mother would refrain from taking her child out in blistering heat to beg for money. Think about it.

You are not helping them instead you are fostering this act of immorality. Firstly, by giving money to these sorts of people, it encourages others to follow because far from helping them you are encouraging them to be lazy and not do anything through fair means. Secondly, Chances are very high that they will spend the money on drugs or alcohol thus by giving them money all you are doing is giving them the means to perpetuate this destructive habit and not really helping them. Moreover, not all the money you give reaches the helpless children, as the owners of these mafias forcibly collect all the money from these children and uses it for illegal activities.

Begging is one of the top and indeed growing social issue in Pakistan today.  Some common causes of this are poverty, lack of jobs and education. Children, who at the tender age of 10 and under should be enrolled in schools learning to read and write are forced to beg and collect garbage on the streets. This is the harsh reality of our country. Despite efforts and attempts to curb it, no real progress can be seen. On the contrary, there are some genuine beggars who are in dire need for money. But due to such high number of beggars it is really difficult to differentiate.

So what can you do? If you want to help give it to a charity organization and ensure the money is spent wisely. You can also buy someone food or donate clothes if you wish. Look around, the maids that work in our houses or the neighbors, you will find a lot of genuine people who actually need your help and in return you will get rewarded for your good deed. Therefore, help them by not giving money to street beggars, put an end to this begging business, and put an end to child abduction and abuse.

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Pamir Times

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Pamir Times is the pioneering community news and views portal of Gilgit – Baltistan, Kohistan, Chitral and the surrounding mountain areas. It is a voluntary, not-for-profit, non-partisan and independent venture initiated by the youth.